Legislative Issues

DUI DIVERSION Judiciary Chair and Senate President Pro Tempore David Simmons (R-Longwood) is proposing a diversion program for drivers who are caught driving while impaired. If passed, the bill would create a one-year pilot program for first-time offenders. Once they successfully complete the program, the judge would withhold adjudication on a DUI charge.

NALOXONE IN SCHOOLS K-12 public schools would be allowed to purchase, and administer, the opioid antagonist naloxone to a student who overdoses on an opioid.

E-VERIFY Legislators plan to introduce bills requiring all private employers to use the federal system to check the immigration status of new hires. Known as E-Verify, it has been a controversial issue during past sessions with strong opposition by agriculture, construction and tourism industries. The Governor supports E-Verify, Senate President Galvano is urging caution and House Speaker Oliva has not commented yet. A coalition of business leaders chaired by South Florida healthcare executive Mike Fernandez is leading the charge against the proposed legislation.

MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCES Bills have been filed to end minimum mandatory sentences for certain crimes, a priority for St. Petersburg Senators Jeff Brandes (R) and Darryl Rouson (D). Instead of requiring minimum sentences, it would steer a specific group of convicted felons into a prison diversion program, thereby relieving some of the overcrowding issues our jails are experiencing. Another bill filed by Brandes would establish the conditional aging inmate release program within the Department of Corrections.